Event Strategy: It’s Time To Kill Bad Meetings

17/09/2020

Strategies to use for in-person and/or virtual meetings & events

How did the discovery of a book help to shape the way we view event strategy? This blog will help to uncover strategies that can be applied in the delivery of effective live events and virtual events, with two key tips: 

  1. Transform your event by putting someone in charge
  2. Set event objectives – start with outcomes not lists of agenda topics

It was in a packed box in the corner of the bookshop, alongside titles by Enid Blyton, John Grisham and various others. The bright red writing on the spine jumped out at me and, without further deliberation, I was the proud owner of Kill Bad Meetings – Cut 50% of your meetings to transform your culture, improve collaboration and accelerate decision.
 
It may seem strange for an event venue to call out a book that, effectively, advocates that  we kill meetings. Meetings are, after all, how we generate revenues. Turkeys voting for Christmas, and all that. But we’re professionals. We believe that, when managed professionally, meetings and events can be transformative. We know that, when left to their own devices, meetings are a total waste of time and deserve to be eliminated. Terminated. Killed.
 
Although published in 2017, in a pre-pandemic era, there’s much in this book (Kill Bad Meetings by Kevan Hall & Alan Hall, London, 2017)  that applies to the virtual world in which meetings and events now – temporarily – live. Here are some important take-aways.

Transform your event by putting someone in charge 

Meeting planning and parenting, surprisingly, have this in common. In general it’s assumed you can automatically do both although little or no formal training is provided for either. While, admittedly, the consequences of bad parenting far outweigh those of bad meeting planning, the outcomes of good parenting and meeting planning can actually be transformative.
 
Hall & Hall capture this in the subtitle to their book – “… transform your culture, improve collaboration and accelerate decision making”. Your meeting can truly be transformative if someone takes charge and assumes “an active role in the planning and management of the meeting.”
 
This means the organisation of the meetings shouldn’t be exclusively in the hands of the most junior person on the team. It should be owned by a senior player who understands what outcomes are desired and what processes might lead best to these outcomes. And this leads to the second point.

Set event objectives - Start with outcomes and process, not lists of agenda topics

For this part of the planning, Hall & Hall come up with the obligatory four letter acronym, a mnemonic to aid recollection of the critical steps – OPPT: Outcomes, Process, Participants, Time.
 
Four questions need to be asked: 

  1. What outcomes do we want from each meeting topic – ie, decision, generate ideas, find specific solution, develop an action plan;
  2. What process will we need to deliver this outcome – first, next and subsequent steps?
  3. Which participants need to be involved – consider using a RACI analysis where you identify someone who is responsible, accountable, consulted or informed?
  4. How much time is it worth spending on this – decide together how much of the overall allocated time each topic should receive? 

So two easy steps to kill bad meetings and these will stand you in good stead whether your meeting is in person or virtual, for 4 people, or 400 people.

Kill Bad Meetings by Kevan Hall & Alan Hall is available on Amazon but Croke Park Meetings & Events will send out a copy to the first person to send us an enquiry and book our Virtual Studio in October 2020.


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